Take Care of Yourself! Special Ed Can Consume Your Life

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Raising a special needs child can be overwhelming. If you are not careful, special education can consume your life. Many parents drive themselves until they are exhausted and burned out.

Pace yourself. Listen to tapes about time management. Use a schedule to gain control of your life. Spend time with friends or family to re-charge your batteries and regain a healthy perspective.

Here are some tips for taking care of yourself and your family.

Set aside time with your partner. Use email or voicemail to stay in touch.

Schedule one-on-one time with each child. Write your child’s name by a date on the calendar. Let your child pick the place and activity.

Master the art of the short escape. Visit a local attraction for an afternoon or a local resort for a weekend. Short escapes will help you unwind.

Nurture friendships. Make time to go to the movies, have meals, exercise, or take walks with friends.

Ask friends for help. Tell friends or family when you need help with child-care and errands.

Find another parent whom you can contact when you are worried and need encouragement.

Share child-care with another family. Pick times each week when you can help the family and when they can help you. You will each have someone to contact when you need a break.

Help others. If you spend one hour a month helping others, this will help you keep your problems in perspective. You will know that you are not alone.

Set aside a block of time to do special education tasks (i.e., making phone calls and filing documents). If you stick to a schedule, special education will not consume your life.

Simplify. Get rid of clutter. Your home will be more relaxing and peaceful.

Take the phone off the hook, silence your cell. When you need quiet time, turn your phone off for a few hours.

Take care of your health. Schedule and keep appointments with doctors. If you feel anxious or depressed, see a mental health professional.

  1. Special education is a failure partly because it does not reflect an understanding that the skills required by the culture in which we live determine the content of what our children are expected to know.

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